The government has this week announced a range of commitments to ultra low emission and autonomous vehicles. This includes a commitment that both the plug-in car grant and the electric vehicle homecharge schemes at will continue at their current rates.

The announcement includes the plug-in car grant, which has already supported the purchase of more than 95,000 ultra low emission vehicles, will continue to provide £4,500 to category 1 vehicles and £2,500 to category 2 and 3 vehicles until at least October 2017.

The electric vehicle homecharge scheme will also continue to provide grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of a domestic chargepoint (capped at £500) until March 2018. Both schemes will then be subject to a further review.

The funding announcement also includes significant investment to help develop the next generation of driverless and low-carbon vehicles, as part of the Industrial Strategy and the government’s Plan for Britain.

In total, the Government support amounts to £109.7 million across three areas:
* Consumer grants and infrastructure: 7 projects with support up to £16.7 million
* Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC): 7 projects with support up to £62 million
* Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV2): 24 projects with support up to £31 million

Regarding the industry investment, seven innovative projects will share grants from the latest round of funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the joint industry-government programme to put the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology.

The projects, led by BMW, CNH Industrial, Ford Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Penso Consulting, Westfield Sportscars and Williams Advanced Engineering, cover a wide range of new innovations which will help the UK to continue to build on its excellence and become a global leader in low-emissions technology, and safeguard 2,370 jobs in the UK.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Low carbon and driverless cars are the future and as a Government we are determined through the Industrial Strategy to build on our strengths and put the UK at the forefront of this revolution. Investment in this technology is an integral part of this Government’s efforts, to ensure the UK auto sector remains competitive and world-leading.”

The government also announced the first set of winners of the second round of its connected autonomous vehicles competition, CAV2, with projects set to receive a share of up to £31 million, match funded by industry. Twenty-four projects demonstrated clear commercial value and identified technical solutions for CAV technology, including how these vehicles will work within the UK transport system.

Funding is divided into four streams and ideas include projects using cars and pods platooning, or going in formation, to transport passengers from Stockport train station to Manchester Airport, create vehicles capable of driving in a range of road environments and technology which could make any car operate autonomously.

Through its continuing funding and support for electric and connected vehicles, the government has significantly increased investment in research and development and reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the UK remains a world-leader in science and innovation ahead of the UK leaving the EU. In a related strategy, later this year the Office for low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will be publishing its long term strategy for the UK’s transition to zero emission vehicles.